A large number of the area’s Jewish community, as well as curious neighborhood residents and well-wishers turned out to celebrate the grand opening of the Chabad of Queen Anne, last week.
The open house included tours of the building, 1825 Queen Anne Ave. N., which used to be a coffee shop and cafe, snacks and a ceremony in which a mezuzah was hung at the front door.
The event was an exciting evening for the local Jewish community and Chabad Rabbi Shnai Levitin and his wife, Chaya, as it marked the opening of the first synagogue and Jewish center in Queen Anne, as well as the completion of the first phase of construction at the building.
During the ceremony, Levitin thanked the supporters to helped the Chabad achieve its grand opening. He said fundraising will begin for the second phase of construction, with the goal to raise the entire $2.9 million cost.
“The edifice will be a place of spirituality, love, of kindness and well be a source of blessing for the entire Queen Anne-Magnolia community and city of Seattle, Levitin said, adding the building opening in the heart of Queen Anne will secure the future of the community’s Jewish residents.
“We’re building her for the future,” he said. “We’re not just building for the month.”
During Phase 2 of the construction, for which the Chabad is currently raising funds, the building’s downstairs will be reconfigured to open the walls and allow room for a synagogue, lobby, social hall, office and Jewish library. It also has a room for a large kosher kitchen. It is currently being used for adult education, Hebrew school on Wednesdays and a children’s lounge on Shabbat.
During phase 1, the upstairs was refurbished, with one section to become a classroom for the Queen Anne Jewish Preschool, which Levitin’s wife, Chaya, will begin in January. The multi-purpose room upstairs currently serves as a synagogue on the weekends. During the week, it will function as an activity room for the preschool and will become a second classroom for the preschool once the downstairs renovation is complete.
Chaya Levitin said when she and her husband designed the Chabad center, which is open to Jewish people of any denomination, they wanted it to be homey and comfortable and not feel commercialized.
“It’s a home away form home for any Jew, and every Jew is welcome,” she said.
The preschool is also designed to feel comforting to its young students, Chaya Levitin said. If everything goes well, she said the preschool will serve a small pod of up to 10 children ages 2 to 3 years old, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Levitin, who will run the preschool as well as serve as one of its teachers, said the curriculum will incorporate Jewish concepts with regular education lessons.
“My goal in the preschool is to create just a warm and loving environment,” she said.
For more information about the Chabad of Queen Anne, go to https://www.chabadqueenanne.com/. To learn more about the preschool, go to queenannejewishpreschool.com.